As I finish up the second week at my awesome new sales and marketing job, a few vital principles have really hit home with me. Whether you’re new to the business of sales and marketing, or an old salty veteran, you might find that remembering these four ideas can have a real positive impact on your success too.
Get really good at juggling
After the 60 or 70 hours I spent working this week, there’s little time or energy left for reflective writing. In fact this is the first blog post I’ve written with my smartphone while sitting in the airport. However, blogging has become critical to my balance. It helps me internalize and incorporate what I’m learning, so I make the time to do it. While you’re boss may help you with ideas for balancing the prospecting, preparation, appointments, paperwork, (and x, and y,z..) of your job, you ultimately need to make time to learn how to juggle your key roles AND take responsibility for your own development. It’s on us to keep all the balls in the air and smile while we’re doing it. It’s much harder to get your balance back once you drop the ball, than to carefully guard and keep it in the first place.
Don’t say free
In complex sales, offering something for free can ruin your chances of furthering the conversation. Why? Because in the mind of a customer, it reduces the value of what you have to offer. Everybody likes something for free, but free is almost always either suspect (your concealing something) or reducing your value (if it’s valuable, why are they giving it away?) This is a great way to lower margins too (and nobody wants that.) If it’s important, it has value. If it’s not then stop talking about it. Make concessions, play the game of give and take, but don’t say it’s free.
You’re just a blip
Yeah, we now. Executives are busy right. Their time is precious. They are stretched beyond capacity. The recession has made this way worse though. This is probably the toughest time in American history to own a business. Many of my customers have had to let people go just to survive. Those who remain are working twice as hard to make up for the cutbacks in staffing. What that means for sales and marketing is that we have to be even more relevant and to the point than ever before. You’re just a blip in their day. Be refreshing, be quick about it and be highly relevant or you will be marginalized.
Make it easy to buy
Here’s where B2B can learn a powerful lesson from B2C companies. Think Mobil speedpass. It’s a near field communications technology employed by the petroleum retailer to make it real easy to buy. You don’t even have to take out you wallet. There’s no swiping or keying in codes. Just wave the thing at the transciever and you’re done. Now contrast that with the flaming hoops your customer has to jump through to buy from you! Most of the administrative part of our jobs is for the benefit of our own internal organization and not about adding much value or making it any easier for people to buy. As the customer facing part of our business, it’s up to us to insulate them from that as much as possible and make it easy to buy.
Forget making rain, make fire
Almost every person I meet with for sales objects, rejects or denies interest at first because they “have not seen the need for what we do.” It’s usually because they have gotten used to business as usual. They have gotten comfortable with the status quo. A little rain is to be expected. They shrug it (and you) off. But sales and marketing is not about making it rain. It’s about creating fires. Customers need a sense of urgency; a desire to move or else they will stay put, despite the rain. Nobody is complacent though when the building’s burning. It’s like my friend the buffalo farmer said when someone asked how you get a 2000 pound animal to go where you want it to go. He said: “You have to make the place you want them to go look like a place they want to be.” Give your customer a hot reason to move or your pipeline will become a parking lot.
What about your week? Any major lessons lighting up your board? Do tell.